Green Man adorns our fireplace mantel.
I was reluctant to move to this house, not because it needed work, and not because it isn’t a lovely house – it is. Of the Victorian era style, it has high ceilings and doorways, heavy molding around the windows, some parquet floors, a large sweeping circular staircase, a pocket door, stained glass and a detailed fireplace in the corner of the dining room. And this is one of the lesser homes on our street, if you can imagine.
The thing is, I am dwarfed in scale by this grandiosity, at least on the first floor. This personality leans towards farm houses. Give me a sunny country kitchen with plenty of light, a big old farm table and a front porch and I am set. When I first moved into this house, I actually felt anxious seeing this Victorian era fireplace, which is adorned with a bas-relief tile of a hunting dog bringing down a stag, roaring lions faces and large feet with claws, fleur-de-lis, and Pan embossed in both the metal shield and gracing the chestnut mantel. A bit over the top for my taste, although fascinating, it created such a presence that I imagined satyrs and sprites coming and going from that point. A place where dreams seeped in, or out. I began to refer to the fireplace in the corner of the dining room, jokingly, as “The Portal to Hell”. I am getting used to it now, finally, but it has taken a while.
Represented in many cultures throughout history, Green Man, with his wreathe of leaves, can signify the cycle of rebirth and new growth every spring. Despite its link to paganism, it is as often depicted on churches as well. His presence is found in different cultures throughout the world. A Green Man for Everyman. So in honor of Beltane and Spring and Cinco de Mayo, I am sharing a picture of the Green Man who dwells on my fireplace.